Vintage Botanicals: Create a Vintage Style Poppy Illustration with Watercolor | Kelly Johnson | Skillshare

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Vintage Botanicals: Create a Vintage Style Poppy Illustration with Watercolor

teacher avatar Kelly Johnson, Connecting humans and nature, creatively!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Vintage botanicals welcome


    • 2.

      Vintage botanicals composition


    • 3.

      Vintage botanicals transferring


    • 4.

      Vintage botanicals painting the flowers


    • 5.

      Vintage botanicals painting the leaves


    • 6.

      Vintage botanicals Banner and ink


    • 7.

      Vintage botanicals closing


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About This Class

In this class we will create a vintage inspired botanical style illustration of a California Poppy using watercolor paint.

Learn to create step by step, the flower, bud, seed pod, and leaves along with a banner including the botanical name just like in the vintage botanical illustrations, but wth a bit of loosened up modern flair! 

This cheerful native North America wildflower is also know commonly as golden poppy, cup of gold, and California sunlight. It has a rich history in the American west and Mexico and was used as both medicine and cosmetically. Its 4 petal bloom's colors range from yellow to orange to red to pinky red and is contrasted by feathery blue-green foliage.

In this project we explore creating the image stylistically, rather than scientific exact rendering in the historical botanical illustration way. In the video I will paint the bright orange variety of California Poppy.

Here's the finished project from the video tutorials:

**Music in the class performed by @seanmahanart, but Daydreaming is originally written and performed by the Rouse Brothers.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelly Johnson

Connecting humans and nature, creatively!


I'm your guide into nature inspired drawing and painting, Kelly Johnson!

If you drop by my world on an average day you might find me gardening, making art, snowboarding, surfing, vegan baking, traveling, or helping humans build deep relationships with nature through art and organic gardening!

I have a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, an MA in environmental studies from Goddard College, an AMS 6-9 teaching credential & 10 years in the classroom, + 20 years experience teaching art & 11 years teaching nature-study to children and adults in a wide variety of settings.

I've painted everything from huge murals in Mexico to tiny paintings in Virginia to tropical plants in Florida to veggies in Europe and I love how art builds community and connections in e... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Vintage botanicals welcome: Hello. Welcome to the world of wings, Worms and wonder. I'm Kelly Johnson, your Creative Nature Connection guide. Thank you so much for joining vintage botanicals, creating a vintage style poppy illustration with watercolor painting. So here's the picture we're gonna make. Here's the project. I got that nice vintage style, cool banner and teat background. We've got each of the elements of the California poppy, which is such a fun and cheerful wildflower to paint. So in this class we glean inspiration from the awesome historic botanical illustration style. But we give it a modern twist by loosening up our painting style. We're not going for a scientific reference here. We're going for a creative nature connection. So we loosen our drawing style, loosen up our painting style, and we have fun with it. So I even included. For those of you, drawing may not be your favorite. I even included a principle that you can print off in the project and trace the elements if you don't want to draw them human so that set for you to or you can draw your own. You only need a few supplies for this class. You need pencil an eraser sketchbook, paper tracing paper, drawing pin or a fine tip marker, a water color paint set or tubes and brushes. Watercolor on paper towels to go with that, of course, and then water color or mixed media paper. I used water color, but should you have a mixed media sketchbook or watercolor sketch book? Feel free to use that as well. Um, I do recommend watching the composition and the transferring tutorial videos first. Watched them together and then start your project before beginning. Other than that, just have fun with it. How fun Creatively Connecting with nature. How fun. Learning more about the California poppy and making your project on Let's get creatively connecting I'll see in the next video. 2. Vintage botanicals composition: Hello. In this first video, we're going to draw and compose are elements. So thinking about a circular composition, you're gonna use this sketchbook and draw your elements. Maybe you're drawing from references. Maybe you're drawing from the images I have here. You're also gonna need tracing paper, and it's from the sketchbook drawing that you later to your tracings. So first, think about your composition. Think about your banner going through the lower part. Think about how the main flower is the is the main element. And they've got the bud and the seat pot in the leaves at the bottom. So this main flower, the poppy flower, has four pedals. So think about that. When you're drawing them. Think about the leaves are a little feathery looking. Um, Bud sort of wraps in on itself, and then the seed pod has a little piece of, like, dead flower of the top. The banner is a nice swoop. Think about curves and twists, toe add interest. You can copy mine exactly if you like, or you can make your own design. Um, make it. Make it have a little flare. Um, so then think about how your elements are. gonna overlap. This main flower, for one overlaps the other. Think about how it will overlap the banner and see. Then you're gonna put your tracing paper over each one of your elements once you get them drawn and you're gonna trace exactly onto the tracing paper. We use that to transfer later. So once you've got it all traced, flip your tracing paper over to the back side and then just sort of scribble over your lines. This is sort of like a rudimentary copy paper, and it makes such a great way to transfer, um, withdrawing onto your watercolor paper. It's a nice light. My light transfer. So all your elements that you've traced and drawn in your sketchbook and we'll go into more than drawing in the next video with Tracy. So you do not want to scribble on the back of the leaf. So the leaf it we're gonna flip over, you'll see in the next video. Okay, So see over there 3. Vintage botanicals transferring: welcome to transferring. This is a really fun process for getting your drawings onto your watercolor papers. So you have your elements all cut out and scribbled on the back. So first, we're going to do the banner. Sort of a central focus of the of the image. So sort of the bottom 2/3 of your paper where you want to place your banner and then you're gonna The scribble side is facing the paper, and then you just literally trace your line that you drew the original trace line. Just moving around holding, holding the paper study can also take it. That actually helps a lot, which I'm gonna do just now. Sometimes you get started doing it and then, um realize you you still need to take for you, maybe need more take. That's okay. So secure your paper or hold it very tightly and just trace. You don't have to apply extra heavy pressure or anything like bad If you got a nice dark scribble. Just normal pressure is fine. Also, you want to sort of be mindful not to slide the paper because it can smudge over the scribble. This is tracing a line. Go slowly go carefully. Tracing is an art form of drawing in and of itself. So take your time. Get your lines as they If you go off track, that's okay. Go over and you can erase it later. So say it's a nice light transfer now going for your main flower element. Tracing now You don't need to trace over top of the banner because this element goes behind , remember, so it's no big deal. If you do, you can always erase it. But then going through your flower again, tracing all four pedals of each bloom, tracing carefully, getting all those subtleties, all those lines. Nice, smooth curves, pedals, tracing you go slowly and carefully. Tracing is just like drawing doesn't seem stiff at all. You can also add if you want to add a little extra flair to your leaf. That's okay. The scribble will transfer anything you draw on this side of the paper. I think all transferred nice and light. I'm moving on to our but placing it's to the right side, upper right side of your main element, the main flower bloom. Attaching it, you don't need to sort of close off the bottom of the stems like to leave him open. Let the paint do that work for you. Nice, soft, smooth but unraveled Flower don't have to add too many details in the drawing because we'll do that with the pain. And then I happen to have the seed pod on the same piece that could have cut it out. But tracing around your seed pod and notice on these poppy California poppy seedpods very fast. They have a little ball at the top, and then and then the little bit of a dead flower petal. Now the leaf. I flipped it over to the traced side, so I'm actually drawing on the back side of the paper now the leaf to make it a mirror image symmetrical. We didn't scribble on the back because by this time, but this first way tracing it on the backside where it's kind of the gonna be the same a scribbling when we flip it to the other side. So it will still have that pencil on both sides to transfer as we trace over sea. And now we just flip it to the other side. And what we just traced becomes our transfer working our way around all the little feathery leaf fits, and you don't have to get all the details exact, because we will fill that in. I mean, you want to get it exact. Don't get me wrong, but if you want to add something or make a make a part of the leaf wider with paint, that's fine. Now we have a mirror image. We can just race. You could have just not drawn that portion, or you could just race it and then go back and fill in any lines. Now the name of the Latin name of the plant on the banner Always write it to the side because it's so easy to make a spelling mistake and then choose what sort of handwriting a font you want, and then place that you may have to do this more than once. That's OK if it's not space right the first time. No biggie and let's go to the next video. More pain 4. Vintage botanicals painting the flowers: time to paint. Okay, starting with the poppy bloom. Got your water color paint water. Got a few brushes to choose from. Paper towel all set up and ready to go. They're painting area going to start with the Indian yellow mixed with a little bit of a 1,000,000. Start laying in that first pedal, playing in those mid tones, tracing around each pedal. We're gonna leave a little bit of white space in between the two pedals so they don't just blend right into one. Playing in Indian yellow has that really nice California poppy glow color in this color yellow and the fourth back pedal this pedals a little stylized. This or this flower bloom is a little stylized now, adding a little more of a 1,000,000 going a little darker on the insides of the pedal. I'm letting it bleed a little bit here, a little bit more here, wet on wet, blending more with that Indian yellow gang that bright sunshine, the orange color now adding cadmium yellow to blend and brighten it up near the tops of the pedals. Moving on to the second flower since opened a little more so starting with the Indian yellow on the back backpedals back. Three. Playing in your tones. That front pedal is bent and coming towards us. So I wanted to go with a lighter on the edge that's curving out towards us, and then a little more of a 1,000,000. A smaller brush on the underside. Remember to change brushes. I'm really often bad about that. Firstly, smaller brush can make your life whole light, easier or bigger. Brush the inner inner portion brighter, adding some more for 1,000,000 tones in having cadmium. Just using a wet on wet technique, letting the paint do the work for you. No need to fight it. Let it blend. Comeback. Add more darks at more mid tones out more lights where you think they needed Add water. If you want to loosen it up, Moving on to a bud. I love how they twist like a spiral before they're open. California poppies Keep it nice and loose. Nice, loose, wet on wet technique and remember, over here on the left, at the top of your seat pod, there's a little tiny peddle leftover pedal that hasn't fallen off yet. So keeping it loose. Having fun with it. Botanical drawings can historically be very tight, but this one is vintage inspired, so keep it lips and see in the next video. 5. Vintage botanicals painting the leaves: Now that the puppy blooms air dry, we're painting or greenery. So starting with a mid green mid tone the olive green, uh, going in and laying in that mid tone on all your feathery leaves working our way around the painting this time is gonna be really conscious where your hand is. It's very, very easy to put your hand right in the paint and get smear green where you re don't particularly want. It's moving around, and this is where you can add a little more flair, a little more feathery nous to the leaves if you like, or you can simplify. You don't have to stick exactly to your drawing here. Not going in also with a little sap green, darkening it down a little bit and also coming in. You know, if you need to add a little yellow in parts of it starts to get a little dark. That's okay. I didn't actually, but it is okay if you need to do that. Working your way around the league stainless breezy feel is your wildflowers, so they're laid back now coming in with depression Blue light wash. You don't want to go. Scott, like blue blue, blue. But, um, poppy leaves have a blue haze. So by coming in with depression way, bring that blue. And it's very nice because blue is the complimentary color toe orange. So it pops the orange when the whole images is together. When we're finished really complements the orange. What makes the color pop? So going through your leaves don't have to do it like exactly systematically. But, you know, just put the pops of blue some some are more blue, some or less. I don't have to trace it exactly. Just do what you're I just the nice wash here and there where looks nice to your eye now going in also and adding some sap green For some darks, add depth and dimension to your leaf in your stamps. Now at the tips. If you notice if you looked in the photo references, you may notice that there are orange too hot pink little tips on each of the leaves, the tips of the leaves. So go around and add these little bright I used for 1,000,000 tips, and this is a nice way to tie that Ah, warm orange color around the painting. It grounds the flowers and integrates them with their stems and leaves. Now we're gonna flip paint the opposite leaf. You do that positive. Do that and then we're gonna move up here to the seed pod. This see pot is more blue than the leaves. Even so, we're doing a light. I'm doing a light wash of that green earth, Hugh, which is a little bit bluer. Don't forget that little tiny ball at the tip of the scene. Pod sphere shape. Now the stem of the sea pot is more great. So we're sticking back with our olive green. And while that drives a little bit, I'm gonna do the more olive green stem on the But now, be careful where your hand is here. Now coming in with that blue Put a line of blue here and I'm gonna let the paint do the work a little bit there But let the paint do the work Let it blend Let the if you need to add a little water to make it flow blue flow into the green can do that, but just give it a little second It will blend right in And it looks so beautiful So working our way around the painting with these greens while they dry and various stages, giving a little darker shadow behind where that pedal crosses over the stem, giving a little darker. Shadows on the undersides with little branches come off and darker where the banner crosses over the step. Well, let's see how you can just make it nice and loose the bottoms of the bud. See pod and flower main central element flower sort of fade off with in a brush strip going back into our leaves, switching between brushes. Whichever brush is gonna suit the job. Best filling in. You'll be taking your time. I've spent these up a little bit so you can hurry up and get painting. But Europe feel Frida. Always rewind. Slow down, Suman, right? You need to see any more details. You can always write me in the comments in your project to, and I can help adding your sap green again. More shadows, their shadows under the flowers Shadows were, uh, where the banner crosses over having a little blue into those leaves. Let's get out and adding your for 1,000,000 tips, and now we're gonna let this dry completely and then I'll see in the next video. Once all dry 6. Vintage botanicals Banner and ink: right, You've made its final video. We're gonna paint our banner. So taking a nice, very wet, very watered down yellow Oakar to give it that the aged vintage look painting right over your pencil. Get more water if you need to. Watered down is the key here. Nice, just little wash. It's OK, even if some areas don't have pain on them. That's your that's your highlight area, darkening around the edges with banner curves, getting tales a little darker inside the boat. That's just a more saturated yellow joker, that fella view so far twist. And now make sure you know it's totally dry before we're doing this. Major leaves were totally dry and now adding a little bit of burnt sienna, sort of an aged patina look as well as giving it a shadow, giving it depth, pushing the the folds and the curves back and making the title area. The banner pop out now just to sort of finish it off and ground the elements and tie the elements together. Doing awash very wash, wash off That yellow car gives it almost like a shadow, but not, you know, as well as giving the paper that sort of aged look. So it's going around very loose, very, very wet. Adding in at the bottom grounding believes ground in the side elements and see sort of tie it together. And then once it's completely, completely dry after you finish, will do the I have three colors black, dark brown and a lighter brown, and I'm gonna go with Dark Brown, sort of a sepia brown. And this is Pigna Micron, my pages completely dry, and now I'm not tracing them like coloring book. I'm just sort of adding pops of pen here and there. I mean lines, but they're not necessarily full lines. As you'll see sort of pops. The shapes out gives it almost like a printmaking look working their way around again. This is this is fed up. That's a little dimension to the sort of more chaotic, feathery leaves that's a little detail tightens up our banner, makes it look forward. Be careful on those swooping lines. Go slowly. Remember, I'm doing this slowly. Actually, go slowly. Watch your details working away around. I'm not tracing over those for 1,000,000 tips, leaving those and see they don't even show up from afar. But they just add a little sharpness and grounding to the green on the leaves and time again, using the green and orange to tie. Tie together the image. You can see how the background yellow ochre paint the wash. It doesn't even make that big of a difference as an element to your eye, but it unifies the paper and now, so carefully tracing over your letters, it's OK if you don't stay exactly on them. I never dio, but it it just helps toe have them there. I can't tell you how many spelling errors I've made. When I skipped the pencil letter stuff and then erase erase your letters behind on your banner. Any other smudge, you can erase it. Try not to erase over the paint on your main elements because that will fade it. But, yeah, I get it all nice, tight, tidy and dry, and you are complete. You have created a vintage inspired botanical drying 7. Vintage botanicals closing: Hello again. I hope you had fun creating your vintage style with technical illustration here in this class. So now take what you've learned about vintage inspired botanical composition and make lots more illustrations of your own of all your favorite fruits and flowers. Billable sketchbook with them. So thank you so much for joining vintage botanicals and remember to post your projects below so I can see excited, which make. I also just want to say I have four other classes here on skill share all watercolor nature connection classes. So maybe check those out, plus have an online nature journaling school as well, with lots more classes, including my signature classes. Draw yourself back to nature and drawn deeper into nature, which you're both watercolor nature, journaling, major painting classes as well. And there's even free glasses over there, three of them, actually. So check that out is a link at the end of the video, and also be sure to check out my website Wings worms and wonder dot com for tons. More creative connection, inspiration, projects, activities, tutorials and so much more. So thank you so much for being here. Thank you for creatively connecting with nature and I'll see you again